Seal hitches lift back to the sea

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On - PHILLIPA YALDEN AND LIBBY WIL­SON

‘‘We rolled him up in a blan­ket and put him in the back of my ute.’’

A way­ward seal was given a lift by a pass­ing mo­torist af­ter al­most be­ing hit and killed on a Waikato high­way.

The young New Zealand fur seal was dis­cov­ered bathing in sun­shine in a pad­dock full of horses in Hin­uera on De­cem­ber 29.

Brad Farmilo was driv­ing along State High­way 29, head­ing to­wards Tau­ranga, when he was flagged down by a cou­ple head­ing to­wards Cam­bridge.

‘‘I just stopped and the lady said to me ‘There’s a seal on the road’. And I said ‘What do you mean, a seal?’’’ he said.

His first thought was about where the seal had come from, closely fol­lowed by the need to stop it caus­ing an ac­ci­dent.

But he had to catch it first, with help from other passers by. The seal was a ju­ve­nile, Farmilo said, and later moved into a pad­dock of horses.

He, the cou­ple that flagged him down and a lo­cal worker launched a plan to catch it. ‘‘He wasn’t a full grown one.

‘‘We wouldn’t have caught oth­er­wise, I don’t think,’’ he said.

‘‘He wasn’t happy about us be­ing there. He took a few swipes and tried to bite and things like that... He was hiss­ing and bark­ing and car­ry­ing on.’’

‘‘We threw a blan­ket over him...and I just held him by the scruff of the neck so he couldn’t turn

it around and bite any­one. We just held him there and one of the other guys was hold­ing the back flip­pers so he couldn’t get any power to get away.’’

Se­nior Sergeant Rupert Friend of the Waikato District Com­mand Cen­tre said po­lice ar­rived and con­tacted the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion who in­formed them it would take an hour to get a ranger from Tau­ranga.

It was de­cided it would be quicker for Farmilo to take it over the Kaimai Range and meet DOC, Friend said.

Two men held the seal while Farmilo wet down the tray of his ute across the road.

‘‘We rolled him up in a blan­ket and put him in the back of my ute,’’ he said.

‘‘Once it was un­der the cover and it was dark in there it calmed right down and just sat there.’’

The han­dover with DOC came about half­way over the ranges, near Farmilo’s home, so his wife and daugh­ter came down to get a look be­fore it con­tin­ued its jour­ney.

A DOC spokesper­son said the fur seal likely got lost up­river. ‘‘All the adults have gone south to­wards the breed­ing colonies and the ju­ve­niles hang around and go ex­plor­ing."

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.